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SALT LAKE CITY -- Boeing unveiled its new vertical fin assembly line at its Salt Lake facility Tuesday, and state leaders are hailing it as a sign of an improving manufacturing sector in Utah.
The line goes into production beginning in July, with the first fin expected to be delivered to Boeing's South Carolina site later this year. "Salt Lake's facility will manufacture all fins used in 787s produced at the South Carolina site.
Director of Boeing Salt Lake City Craig Trewet called it a "very significant piece of structure" for the 787 Dreamliner. The vertical fin helps maintain side-to-side horizontal movement of an airplane in flight.
"This is a highly-desired piece of artwork, frankly, in our business," said Trewet.
The fins are massive - 33 feet high and 15 feet wide - and it was no small undertaking to prep the facility. Time lapse video shown at the official unveiling Tuesday revealed hoards of workers trading out machinery.
"We didn't have a lot of slack in the schedule to meet the program requirements and that's another great reason to turn to this kind of high-performance team," said Ross Bogue, vice president and general manager of Boeing Fabrication. "They moved all of the machine tools and activity in this area over a weekend. It's really fast and done really well."
Today this announcement here at Boeing is just another indicator that Utah is on the right road going in the right direction.
–- Gov. Gary Herbert
The company expects the 35,000 square feet of line will improve efficiency in the final assembly and delivery of the fins. State officials say Boeing -- which employs 740 Utahns -- is adding 45 jobs immediately with the line and potentially another 120 by the end of 2012.
"It means economic growth, expansion, jobs," Gov. Gary Herbert said.
Herbert said the manufacturing sector in Utah is making gains.
In the past month, Herbert said he met with a group of 21 manufacturing companies in the state. All 21 told him they planned to add jobs in the coming year.
"Today this announcement here at Boeing is just another indicator that Utah is on the right road going in the right direction," Herbert said.